A fascinating melting pot of people and cultures.
Darwin is the gateway to the ‘Top End’ and boasts the best lifestyle in Australia. A vibrant city proudly influenced by many cultures around the world. It’s who we are and we love our uniqueness!
Known for it’s unique laid-back lifestyle, Darwin’s history has not always been so peaceful. During the World War II the township endured 64 bombing raids by Japanese forces with the loss of many lives. Likewise on Christmas Eve in 1974, Darwin was hit by Cyclone Tracy which left over 70% of Darwin residents, homeless.
Territorians however, are resilient! They simply rallied together to rebuild their city to become the thriving hub it is today. They are true survivors!
The traditional owners of this land are the Larrakia people, an Aboriginal clan known as the Saltwater people.
Today, the Top End is jam-packed full of lifestyle experiences, stunning landscapes with crystal clear waterfalls and wildlife that you won’t see anywhere else.
We’ve got so much to show you!
Things to see and do in Darwin
Enjoy Spectacular sunsets
Watch the sun set into the Arafura Sea accompanied by your favourite beverage at one of the oceanfront Darwin clubs and cafes. Visit the Darwin Sailing Club, the Darwin Trailer Boat Club and the Nightcliff Foreshore for some of the best sunset vantage points, and don’t forget to take your camera!
Markets are ‘the’ thing to do whilst you’re in the Top End. Enjoy the street food, shop for trinkets, sarongs, get your fortune told and pick up some aboriginal art from the artist.
- Parap Village Markets – Saturday mornings, year round
- Nightcliff Markets – Sunday mornings, year round
- Rapid Creek Markets – organically grown produce, year round
- Mindil Markets – Thursday & Sunday nights, late April – October. Famous for its stunning sunsets, Mindil Beach is the place to go to tick that off your bucket list. On market nights, thousands of people descend on the beach to watch the sun dip into the Arafura Sea. Don’t be surprised if the crowd cheers when the sun disappears!
Darwin has a number of excellent museums and historical sites well worth visiting.
- Darwin Museum & Art Gallery: With a large range of important historical exhibits, including the Cyclone Tracy display. The Museum is also has an art gallery, a Maritime museum and many items of cultural importance and wildlife exhibits.
- Darwin Military Museum: A powerful and interactive experience reflecting Bombing of Darwin. Contains war memorabilia for all over the Territory and other parts of Australia. A very moving experience.
- Australian Aviation Heritage Centre: An award winning display of Darwin’s aviation history with 19 types of aircraft on display including a B52 bomber, a B25 Mitchell bomber and other aircraft.
- The World War II Oil Storage Tunnels: A unique attraction located at the Darwin Wharf Precinct.
- Royal Flying Doctors Centre: Features the story behind this invaluable service to outback Australia. Located on Stokes Hill Wharf.
- Bombing of Darwin Experience: A digital 3D reality experience transporting visitors to realistic war battles in the Darwin Harbour. Not to be missed. Located on Stokes Hill Wharf.
- Chinese Temple and Museums: Stone Lions and crafted in China guard the entrance in Litchfield Street. The Temple was originally used for social gatherings, the forerunner of Chung Wah Society.
- Fannie Bay Gaol: Built in 1883, the gaol demonstrates the hardships of penal life in early settlement days with small cells and a set of gallows.
Just 2 kilometres from the city, the George Brown Botanic Gardens are renowned for their collection of northern Australian and tropical plants. It’s one of the few botanic gardens in the world with marine and estuarine plants growing naturally. Beautiful shady trees, tropical bromeliads, gingers and heliconias, orchids and other exotic flora .. our gardens are a great place to explore.
Eva’s cafe is a great place to stop for brunch, lunch or just a coffee.
Never smile at a crocodile
It’s well known that predatory saltwater crocodiles lurk around the Darwin waterways so swimming on the beach is not an option in the Territory. Most visitors are curious and want to see crocodiles!
Depending on your fear factor, choose one that suits best.
- Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of Darwin city has one of the largest reptile collections in Australia. For the adventurous, they offer a close encounter with the world’s largest predator in the Cage of Death, Australia’s only crocodile dive.
- Take a ‘Jumping crocodile cruise‘ on the Adelaide River. Crocodiles literally jump out of the water to take food. You will learn about their predatory behaviours of these crocodiles from experienced guides.
- Take a Corroboree Billabong Wetland Cruise where you will see some of the Territory’s extraordinary bird-life, stunning waterlilies and monster crocodiles from the safety of a boat. These guides are extremely knowledgeable and provide information about the birds, crocodiles and their habitats.
The Waterfront Precinct
Laze away the afternoon on the grassy lawns under a shady palm tree, visit the Wave Pool, swim in the safety of the sandy beach (crocodile free), or learn Tai Chi with the locals on a Saturday morning. Enjoy this relaxation space.
Check out the great selection of local pubs, cafes and quality restaurants or wander out along Stokes Hill Wharf for something different.
A number of evening cruises run from Darwin wharf area that take in the sunset from an ocean vantage point. City lights in the background offer a beautiful backdrop of Darwin harbour with the option of wine and canape’s or a full dining experience depending on your cruise choice.
The Deckchair Cinema
One of Darwin’s great experiences! A unique outdoor cinema, the Deckchair Cinema overlooks Darwin Harbour with old fashioned deckchairs and cushions for comfort. Screenings range from family favourites, Australian and foreign films. Hot meals and a licensed bar is available. It’s a great place to step down memory lane and enjoy a night at the flicks!
It’s where the possums come out to play and scamper up the big screen silhouetted against the sun setting over the ocean!
Fun day trips to take
If time is short, take a day trip to Kakadu National Park or Litchfield Park or opt for a cruise over to the Tiwi Islands,whilst you’re in Darwin. See this pristine country and it’s wildlife, experience and learn about Aboriginal culture and the people and see Aboriginal paintings that are over 60,000 years old. It’s a unique adventure.
Where to eat
With so many fantastic restaurants in Darwin, it’s often difficult to choose where to eat.
Try some of my favourites: Thailicious, Little Miss Korea, Yots Greek Taverna, Hanuman’s, The Sailing Club, the Oyster Bar at the Waterfront or Tandoori Vibes for Indian food. For something a little more casual why not grab a famous Mitchelli’s pizza or pop into the Cav Hotel for a great steak. Don’t forget to try the restaurants and eateries at Stokes Hill Wharf for one of our favourite casual dining hubs.
Search TripAdvisor, read the reviews or simply choose one of my favourites for a guaranteed good night.
Do the Top End – 6 Day Itinerary
Do the Top End with our favourite 6 day ‘quick visit’ itinerary. It’s a surefire way to pack the very best Top End experiences into your short stay and take home a swag of memories.
How to get to Darwin?
Getting here is easy!
Air – Flights daily from all capital cities of Australia – a short flight daily from Cairns and a flight from Alice Springs twice a day.
Road – A road trip to the Northern Territory is a great way to enjoy the rich colours of the Territory and experience the extraordinary scenery. The roads are great in the Territory, lots of wide open spaces but do be careful of our wildlife – they have a habit of wandering onto the roads and many a tale of woe is told when a kangaroo, buffalo, emu or hawk comes to grief with a moving vehicle.
Train – One of the most unique travel options is to ‘take the Ghan‘. One of the world’s famous rail journey, the Ghan travels from Adelaide – Darwin stopping in Alice Springs on the way.
“The Ghan has captivated travellers since its inaugural journey in 1929 and continues to be a top choice for travellers seeking authentic Australian adventure with all the comforts and luxury that come with travelling by rail.” (Great Southern Rail)
Where to stay
Darwin has great accommodation choices ranging from camp sites, backpacker accommodation through to top rated hotels. Air BnB, Booking.com, Trip Advisor and Wotif provide accommodation options in both locality and price.
Come visit and enjoy!
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Enjoy Darwin’s lifestyle!
Darwin is one of ‘the last frontier’s’ with kangaroos in the wild, crocodiles on the loose, National Parks that have world heritage listing and waterfalls that go forever. Be sure to experience them all!
We may seem to be a long way from everywhere, but our laid-back lifestyle is what we love most about the Top End. Come and experience for yourself.